4 Races in 40 Hours: Track Cycling, XC Running, and Cyclocross

What a weekend of eye-opening experiences!! As I said in my last post, the offseason is a GREAT time to try new things that can increase your strength for the upcoming triathlon season. Doing things other than the usual swim, bike, and run can also be a big cup of mental refreshment through the fall/winter. This past weekend I tried a few new things that not only had my adrenaline flowing all weekend, but tested my cycling and running skills.

Friday night I spent a few hours at the Burnaby Velodrome, learning how to race from the decorated cyclist Kelyn Akuna, alongside many other cyclists, and Jenn. We pretty much learned by being thrown into the flames, with a  discussion about the race format, and then actually racing immediately after. We had three races that night, including the Scratch race, Elimination race, and the Points race. It was so fun I couldn’t stop smiling, and it tested my bike handling skills and strength! If you think you’re a strong cyclist, try racing on the track, it’s an exciting but humbling experience!

Saturday morning I started the day with the Bear Creek Cross Country 5000m race. The pace started out fast, and as I sat on the feet of a few runners, I was so sure I was going to pop! As my heart rate climbed and climbed, we slowly dropped one runner after another, until it was just myself and another battling it out. I made my move about 1km out, as my lungs screamed for air and the world seemed to get a little dark, I held on for the win and a new PB for the 5km, a 15:37!! I didn’t have much time to celebrate though, as it was time to fly over to my next race of the day, the Burnaby Foreshore cyclocross race.

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Coming through the first loop of the Cross Country race Saturday. Photo Credit Björn Ossenbrink

I was super excited about this race, as it was my first time racing  a cyclocross event. The 5km race actually gave my legs a lot of pep, and I toed the line ready to go. As call-up was announced, I seemed to be at the back-end of the entire field. It was a haywire race, fast and furious every single second, and I managed to put myself somewhere in the top 10. I started to get a slow leak in my rear tire, but it managed to hold up until after the race.

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Getting ready to start the Vanier Park Cyclocross race on Sunday. Thanks to Jenn for the photo!

Sunday brought my last race of the weekend, the Vanier Park Cyclocross event, held only a short ride from my house. I was excited to race this one, as I figured I’d be able to improve from my race the day before. I made the front row on call-up, so I had a good starting position. The gun went off, and even though I had a poor holeshot sprint (I’ve never been a good sprinter,) I managed to work my way up to the top 3. I held on with two others, with one of them dropping from the race with a flat. I was holding a good spot right behind the leader, going back and forth for top position. It was furious racing, a very fast course that tested the legs and anaerobic system constantly. At about the 25 minute mark, I felt the horrible feeling of the rear rim hitting the ground as I came off a steep bridge, followed by the standard ‘thump-thump-thump’ of a flat tire.

 

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Coming up the obstacles!

 

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….followed by a quick mount, and I’m off!

 

(**insert a few carefully chosen colourful words here**)

I was not impressed, but that’s cycling. We had gapped the next rider by a good chunk of time, so unless I absolutely bailed completely off course, a top 2 was guaranteed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. I was super happy to cheer on the rest of my friends racing, including Megan Holtham’s second place race, and hang out with the Speed Theory guys and others that came out to watch.

 

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Coming in to an obstacle, only minutes before my race-ending flat tire.

 

Next on the docket is another double-header this weekend. Saturday morning will begin with an 8km cross country running race in White Rock, BC, followed by the Castle Cross cyclocross race in Port Coquitlamd. I’ve been taking some tips on how to prevent flats, and hopefully I’ll be able to get muddy finally (both weekend races were sunny and dry!) Cyclocross is all about the mud!!

Here’s a quick little video I threw together from the weekend’s racing action, enjoy!

 

Hope everyone’s been enjoying September, October is around the corner, brining fall weather with it. Be safe out there, and have fun!

Nathan

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